When Mountain Lions and livestock and and humans collide, there are no happy endings. This story had a bad end for both lion, human, lama and horse.

My neighbors just down the mountain are ranchers and have been for generations. Their ranch has always had lions, or you could say the lions have had humans intruding on their turf for generations. They have managed to coexist for many years. The lions declared war last year by killing and eating some of the lamas on the ranch. This was unusual, deer are plentiful and are the "Big Mac Happy Meal" of choice for lions.{except for ponies, Lions LOVE a tasty pony foal}

Humankind retaliated as they always do, and waited for the predator to return for another furry meal. This lion was shot and killed.

Recently, the lions retaliated. They killed and ate one of the best and most loved horses on the ranch. The boy who loved the horse is devastated. There were also bear tracks where a bear had fed after the lions left to digest their meal.


My closest neighbor called me a couple of weeks ago. She said she was looking out of her window and saw a big lion in the Cottonwood tree by my pony corrals. It was perched on a branch and switching it's tail as it gazed at the ponies. This worries me a lot.

I spent a lot of time selecting Tennessee Walking ponies from many places for my gypsy wagon project. Spent years hauling them around having Merlin train them before bringing them to Cali with my old Jeep and horse trailer. There is a mare with a foal in one corral.

I wondered what I would do if I heard a lion outside eating my ponies. I think the best I could do is fire off a LOT of warning {GET THE **** OUT} shots in the air. I would not want to try and shoot a lion that had a hold on a pony. Too much movement and the possibility of shooting the pony would be high.

I live on the banks of a creek in the mountains. All manner of wildlife come to drink and hunt. When a friend downstream heard something digging up his garden, he grabbed his 22 rifle and slid open the door to make a raccoon pay for pilfering the corn crop. It was two lions in his garden. He slid the door closed, grabbed a more suitable weapon and fired, killing one lion. He called the game warden who told him that now there was a more serious problem. This was a young lion he shot, the one that was there with it was a mature female and she WOULD be coming back looking for her yearling cub.

The female did indeed return each night for many weeks. Each night right at dusk she would come along the creek, calling for her cub. She sounded just like a huge house cat calling her brood.She would follow the creek up to the garden where she last saw her offspring. She would crouch in the bushes waiting and watching. She would return back up the creek around daybreak, passing within 50 feet of my cabin window. The whole thing made me sad and scared. I kept the kids indoors a lot that year, especially at dusk.

Here are a few stats concerning human-lion encounters in one state alone.

March. (Attack #3) A lion attacked a 5-year-old girl, Laura Small, in Caspers Regional Park, Orange County, resulting in a $2 million court judgment against Orange County. Laura remains blind in one eye and partially paralyzed. (OCR 9/29/98
October. (Attack #4) A 6-year-old boy, Justin Mellon, received minor injuries resulting from a lion attack. (OCR 9/29/98,


23 April. (Attack #8, death #4) Barbara Schoener, 40, a friend of my sister and a long-distance runner in excellent physical shape, was killed by an 80-pound female mountain lion in Northern California on the American River Canyon trail in the Auburn State Recreation Area. No one observed the attack, and hence there are conflicting hypotheses about what occurred.

16 August. (Attack #9) 50-year-old Troy Winslow and his wife Robin, along with 48-year-old Kathleen Strehl, were camping in the yard of a rustic cabin near the isolated hamlet of Dos Rios in Mendocino County, when a fight broke out between their dog and a 2-year-old, 60-pound rabid female mountain lion at 4:30 a.m. The lion retreated under the cabin after they threw rocks at it. Near daybreak, the cougar attacked Kathleen, giving her four puncture wounds in the arm and knocking her to the ground. The others jumped on the cat and Robin stabbed it with a 12-inch kitchen bread knife. The cat bit off Winslow's thumb during the melee when the man grabbed the animal near its mouth.

10 December. (Attack #10, death #5) Iris M. Kenna, a 5-foot-4 and no more than 115 pounds, 56-year-old woman in excellent physical condition, was killed near Cuyamaca Peak at Cuyamaca Rancho State Park while hiking to Cuyamaca Peak alone in the early morning. She was attacked near the bench dedicated to her at the intersection of the Lookout Fire Road and Azalea Springs Fire Road / Fern Flat Fire Road.

20 March. (Attack #11) Scott Fike, a 27-year-old cyclist, was bitten and cut by a cougar near Mount Lowe in the Angeles National Forest, on 20 March 1995, and fought the cougar off with rocks. The cougar was then tracked down and killed.

8 January. (Attacks #12 and 13; death #6) 35-year-old Mark Jeffrey Reynolds, an amateur mountain bike racer, was reported as being killed by a mountain lion sometime after 1:25 p.m. at Whiting Ranch Wilderness Park in southern Orange County. His bicycle was later found with the chain unbroken, but off the sprockets. Jim Amormino, a spokesman for the Orange County Sheriff's Department, speculated that Mark was attacked as he was fixing his bike.

Later the same day, Anne Hjelle, 30, of Santa Ana, a former Marine who works as a fitness instructor, was jumped by the same mountain lion. Anne was attacked a short distance down the trail from Mark's body, which was not visible to her, while she was riding her mountain bicycle. The lion jumped her from a slight rise (~4 feet) on the right hand side of the trail, from under some high brush. The lion quickly had Anne's face in its mouth, despite the presence of Anne's helmet. Her riding companion, Debi Nicholls, was about 30 feet behind Anne and witnessed the attack. Debi threw her bike at the mountain lion, to no avail, then grabbed Anne's legs and screamed as the lion dragged both of them 30 feet down the slope into the brush. The lion kept attacking Anne, alternating between her helmet, face and neck. The screams brought Nils Magnuson, 33, of Long Beach, and Mike Castellano to the scene, who called 911 and scared off the mountain lion by throwing rocks at it.

26 June. 27-year-old Shannon Parker of Santa Monica, California, was attacked by a 2-year-old male cougar at about 6:15 p.m. near the Tulare County mountain community of Johnsondale, California, about 15 to 20 miles north of Kernville. Shannon lost her right eye and suffered injuries to her other eye and deep lacerations to her right thigh.

When she began to scream, the others rushed to her assistance. "They heard her scream, 'Get it off me. Get it off me,'" said Brian Naslund, acting lieutenant for Kern County with the DFG. Maciejewski used a knife to stab the mountain lion twice in the shoulder, but it had little effect, Naslund said. Quirino or Marsh went to get help while Maciejewski and the remaining hiker threw rocks at the animal. "They hit it in the head a couple of times with the rocks, it let her go," Naslund said.

24 January. Hiking in Prairie Creek Redwoods State Park sometime before 3:00 p.m. in Humbolt County 50 miles north of Eureka in Orick, California, 70-year-old Jim Hamm was attacked by a cougar, apparently as it crept up from behind. The Fortuna, California, man was accompanied by his 65-year-old wife Nell. Both were reported as under 5'6".

According to supervising Ranger Maury Morningstar, "The wife said she didn't see the lion until she heard her husband, and when she turned around, the lion was attacking her husband."

Nell Hamm said she first saw the lion when it had her husband's head in its jaws. The lion pounced on Jim Hamm near the end of a 10-mile hike. He was trailing his wife when the big cat attacked, pinning him face down on the trail. He didn't scream, Nell said. "It was a different, horrible plea for help, and I turned around, and by then the cat had wrestled Jim to the ground."

Nell Hamm did all the right things. She approached and screamed at the lion. Then she grabbed a 4-inch-wide log and began beating it on its back. "It wouldn't let go, no matter how hard I hit it," she said.

While Jim was trying to tear at the face of the cat, Nell says, "Jim was talking to me all through this, and he said, 'I've got a pen in my pocket. Get the pen and jab him in the eye.'" "So I got the pen and tried to put it in his eye, but it didn't want to go in as easy as I thought it would." When the pen bent and became useless, Nell Hamm went back to using the log. "That lion never flinched," she said. "I just knew it was going to kill him."

Finally, Nell slammed the log butt-end into the cat's snout. The lion had ignored her until then. At last, she had its attention. With blood on it's snout from her blow, the lion let go, stepped back, an stood glaring at her with its ears pinned back. "I thought he was going to attack me," she said. She continued to scream, waving the log, and then, thankfully, the cat slipped into the ferns and disappeared

PeaceOnEarth PeaceOnEarth
46-50, F
1 Response Jul 18, 2010

A couple of weeks ago, there was an article in the San Diego paper of some, maybe three lion families that had trekked south from Orange County. They made it through the firing ranges of Camp Penalton, the big Marine Base.. They were smart enough to go around the wild animal park in San Diego County and are setting up house in the mountains east of the city.<br />
<br />
Of the long camera shots that were shown, they were all the same family of cat.<br />
Some two days before the article, I was in my back yard, taking a break at the end of day. My home is in the low rolling hills.. In the afternoon, as I meditate the days end.. I sit and feel the breeze from the sea that comes rushing through the canyons.<br />
When I opened my eyes, I had company. A big cat was also enjoying the invigorating air. She sat at the end on the deck.. her head held high to catch the wind. After I saw her.. she sensed me looking, admiring her.<br />
She stood and walked to the end of the deck, sat on the steps that go down to the yard and raised her head again.. she turned towards me.. her large unbl<x>inking yellow green eyes looking straight at me, she nodded and felt the wind once more before she sprung out and in three bounding steps, she went the 75 feet and over the 5 foot fence.<br />
<br />
I called the wild animal park and asked if they had a black cat... yes.. they have three panthers.<br />
I asked if any were missing.. they said no.<br />
<br />
I don't know why these great cats would attack.. this one was at peace.. as was I when we met.<br />
I look for her every day but have only seen the end of her long tail as she went behind one of the buildings on my place. I am tempted to have food for her.. mostly for selfish reasons.. she is doing fine on her own.

Amazing story.... thank you